• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

GAF Games of the Year 2012 - Voting Thread, now closed. Thanks for all the fish.


Sep 8, 2010
Oh man, the Journey/Walking Dead battle is super close so far. Finally getting me to wish that Journey had been on more than one platform, so that more people would know its undeniable genius.


Dec 6, 2008
New York
1. The Walking Dead; great characters and great writing. Clementine is especially memorable. I cared more for her than I did for any living human on the companion tv show. Some games try hard and fail to make us care about digital code (ex: Fable), and some games like the Walking Dead succeed brilliantly. This game is definitely one of my personal favorites.

2. XCOM; challenging and rewarding. Also buggy, repetitive, and no personality. But the nail biting experience of having a squad of heavily armed corporals take on an army of alien scum is hard to deny in fun factor.

3. Mass Effect 3; it was fun until it fell apart. Inferior to the sequels with less choice and a dumb story. However, the gun play is much better. And there's some great set pieces and decent dialogue throughout. It was definitely a fun ride that kept me hyped until it didn't and I stared at the credits and rubbed my forehead. But the highs were still great despite that...I think.


Jun 14, 2011
1. DOTA 2; Highly addicting with a ton of polish put into it.

2. Mass Effect 3; Despite the ending controversy, ME3 has some of the highest moments in the entire trilogy.

3. Planetside 2; FPS on a scale no other game comes close to.

4. Sleeping Dogs; Wei Shen. Enough said.

5. Torchlight II; The best dungeon crawler this year.

2011. Dark Souls; Amazing game. Probably the best I played this year. Such a satisfying experience.


Aug 14, 2007
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2. Mass Effect 3
3. The Walking Dead
4. Legend of Grimrock ; my biggest surprise. Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master were two of my favorite dungeon crawlers from back in the day.
5. Dishonored
6. SongPop ; Haha. Had to throw a super casual game on there.

War Peaceman

You're a big guy.
Sep 24, 2009
1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; I love a good book. I read a hell of a lot. But I hate stories in games. I constantly am aggrieved by the way that journalists and developers seem to love the idea of story and narrative, with gameplay being somewhat sidelined. I tend to think that interactivity and narrative (in the conventional sense) are not good bed fellows. This game has not changed that opinion. It is however, a phenomenal story, that blends its narrative and gameplay framework in a brilliant way (I do not want to spoil anything, so apologies if this is vague). It has superbly written characters - Phi, in particular, but almost any of the characters are fantastic. The plot is insane but in a way that is internally credible and consistent. I have not outwardly reacted to any story in such a way for a long, long time. I was literally going "YES YES YES YES YES" at various points. That wasn't even part of one of the endings. This series is a must play for anyone.

2. Nintendo Land ; A complete surprise. I expected this to be a competent series of fun minigames that I would play with my family over Christmas and enjoy, but quickly forget. Not so. The game is gorgeous, the metallic sheen and the solidity of the environment really shocked me. The music is catchy as anything. But - fortunately for a game - the experience of playing it is its strongest point. Playing Metroid Blast and cooperatively defeating the enemies, one in the gunship one as Samus, was joyous and could easily be expanded into a game of its own (One can but hope). Not to mention it was bloody tough! Other games on it are great - Mario Chase is simple and exciting, plus the replay feature on it is a brilliant touch to relive the idiocy. Luigi's Mansion can be deliciously tense but struggles with an imbalanced skill level amongst players. There are other great games in there - Crash Course is tactile and tight - including a large amount of solo activities. This is, for a Wii Sports successor, of course great for multiplayer but it also possesses genuine challenge. Arcade brilliance.

3. Pokemon Black 2 ; Realistically there have been too many Pokemon games on DS. I honestly was feeling a good deal of fatigue. Fortunately, this is a return to Unova - the best region - with the most interesting regional pokedex, some brilliant additions (some of the gyms are wonderful) and a great soundtrack. I don't need a new game anytime soon, but I cannot deny that this one was ace.

4. New Super Mario Bros U ; Really, shockingly great. Besides the bizarre Gamepad-multiplayer issue, a flawless and beautiful game.

5. New Super Mario Bros. 2 ; It isn't as good as the Wii version. If that sounds like quite the negative, it really shouldn't. That is one of my games of the generation. This, meanwhile is a well made and quite creative platformer that just never hits the highs of its predecessor in some intangible way. Coin Rush mode is a nice addition though.

6. Little Inferno ; Do you like burning assorted objects over and over again in the same room? Little Inferno is the game for you. Despite mechanically being more than a fire technology demonstration, the deliciously twisted and off-kilter tone make this difficult to leave alone. Plus, who could resist burning mini-nukes and toy zombies? Love you Sugar Plumps.

7. Theatrhythm ; A shockingly competent music game for a series I am not a huge fan of (I'm a fan of particular games rather than the series. However, if one series could pull a music game off, it is this. And it does. With aplomb.

2011. Super Mario 3D Land ; A great blend of 2d and 3d Mario (If you didn't notice from the rest of my list, I quite enjoy Mario)

More to be added later.


Aug 11, 2006
Oh man, the Journey/Walking Dead battle is super close so far. Finally getting me to wish that Journey had been on more than one platform, so that more people would know its undeniable genius.

I'll deny it's genius. Boring and shallow game that lives off of it's "art" cred. :)


Jan 3, 2009

1. The Walking Dead ; Sets a high water mark for writing, empathy, and emotional resonance in games. Great voice acting and art style. Simple but effective and occasionally subversive point-and-click adventure mechanics carry the story, and the standout conversation system encourages organic and personal decision making. Unforgettable moments. Also the literal GOTY, staying relevant and gaining traction with each successful episode from April to November.

2. Fez ; A painstakingly detailed, comfortingly nostalgic pixel dream world of puzzles, surprises and perspective oriented platforming. A rabbit hole that goes so deep it demands pen and paper to solve its most cryptic riddles. Slightly mad. Drenched in a stunning soundtrack.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; From bleak big picture maneuverings on a global scale to the one dice roll that needs to go right in order to survive, it's a master class in strategy and tension that still manages to deliver that addictive "one more turn" impulse Firaxis does best.

4. Persona 4 Golden ; Generously enriches a modern classic with additional story, dungeons and locations, better visuals, network functions, series extras and a host of welcome gameplay tweaks. Delightful and perfect while on the go (or for hours at a time).

5. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Each attempt at FTL is another mini space adventure that randomly unfolds at your increasingly skilled command - even as the fate of your crew lies at the brutal mercy of the universe. Potent imagination fodder for all ages.

6. Forza Horizon ; Created by a collective of genre experts, and it shows. A feature complete sim/arcade hybrid - real cars, open world, kudos, decals, variety, slick presentation, radio stations, a tastefully cliche-filled story mode, robust online and an inspired, beautiful setting.

7. Journey ; Journey is a special game that leaves a mark. Strong themes, well paced and lovely to look at. The unique multiplayer component encourages cooperation on a primal level and deserves recognition.

8. Asura's Wrath ; A visual feast full of epic mythology, fun characters, dramatic presentation and impactful QTE's that have a tendency to unfold into planet sized spectacles. Interactive anime sounds like it should be a pejorative, but not when it's done as expertly as this.

9. Mark of the Ninja ; Satisfyingly precise gameplay. The various systems and on screen information work in concert with the responsive controls and fluid animation. Upgrade paths, collectibles and challenges leave lots of room for freedom and replayability.

10. DJMax Technika Tune ; Technika's multitouch approach to rhythm games was a revelation in arcades, and while compromises have been made it still shines pretty damn bright on the small screen.

Honorable Mentions:
x. Hotline Miami ; Fever dream/nightmare fuel. Hyperviolent and methodical top down murder simulator. Audiovisual tour de force.
x. Dishonored ; Powerful first person stealth in an intriguing world of shady politics, scientific invention, hidden routes and plague ridden rats.
x. Crusader Kings II ; Sprawling and epic historical strategy with an incredibly nuanced diplomacy system.
x. Far Cry 3 ; A dense and beautiful playground for mayhem. Top notch combat, exciting emergent scenarios.
x. Dust: An Elysian Tail ; Genre mashup success story with cohesive quality throughout.
x. Super Hexagon ; Challenging hypnosis simulator. Singular in focus, highly addictive in practice.
x. Frog Fractions ; I said holy shit a few times

2011. Minecraft ; Yeah, I finally got into Minecraft on both PC and iOS this year. It's pretty neat, you guys.


sparkle this bitch
Oct 9, 2007
Sadly I don't have many games played this year. And like normally, unless it stands out. Can't quite say I want to vote for it.

1. Tribes Ascend; (PC)Why am I voting for it?: Though I do not have experience with the previous titles, I've played nothing like it prior. A shooter based around movement, slower moving projectile discs, and CTF rather than TDM. The normal base line skill that transfers over from TF2, To Halo, to RO2, to whatever. It wasn't present in this game. It was a new experience. Getting the timing for shots down was more important than fast reflexes and you had to do it while going fast. So learning the ins and outs of each map became a greater priority since you're own survival and effective depended on it. There would be players without a single kill, but unstoppable once they mastered routes that took them past 300+MPH from blind directions. And that was really the beauty of the game. When I first started to play, I felt the Shrike was overpowered. It didn't matter after a few months once I could outrun them. A game where the standard get up is the most powerful too and highest skill cap.

2. Dragon's Dogma; (360)

Why am I voting for it? While I'm being pretty aggressive with my voting in this case, but it's an open world action RPG. And it actually does it well. Most of the time, they have a janky and very restrictive feel. Take Skyrim for example, and whatever you experience your first hour is going to be the same for the next 10. This on the other hand takes more cues from the action genre. Scaling beasts, allowing for dodges, and combos. It's as entertaining to fight as it is to explore. I also adore how you can adjust you're character at anytime. You can pick any class and start to level from there even when you're 100.

The part I didn't expect to love was the pawn system. I went in thinking it was just going to be a distraction taking away from my single player game. Turns out to be a well constructed way to make the game work online in its own unique way, ala Dark Souls. You make you're own and others can use them, while you use their. So I can always balance out my party by hiring others or just mess around. I also love getting my pawn back after a while with a good review. ^_^

3. Dishonored;(PC): Writing in Text now

2011: Red Orchestra 2;(PC): Writing in Text now


Sep 5, 2011
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; Completely overlooked game and the shining gem of the 3DS library. The game is packed to the brim with features to keep you playing for hours, while also being one of the best rail shooters I have played in a long time.

2. Borderlands 2 ; Easily most improved sequel of the year, there are hours and hours of content to this game to keep me playing for hours. Just the sheer replayability would put it in my top 10, but the game just being superb on all fronts makes me put it near the top of the list.

3. Journey ; Just a beautiful game all around, the definition of gaming as an art form. It connects and immerses the player in a world without having to even say a single word.

4. The Walking Dead ; One of the best story-driven experiences in gaming ever, and I'm happy to see adventure games finally returning to the lime-light.

5. Dishonored ; A great first step for a new IP, and what really made it shine was giving the player the power on how they want to play the game making this one of those experiences that is different for everyone who plays the game on their first run.

6. New Super Mario Bros. U ; Platforming at it's finest, and easily one of the best, if not the best 2D Mario game ever made.

7. Halo 4 ; I was ready to cast this game aside after Bungie jumped ship, but man was I wrong. It might not be the best Halo game, but it certainly is one of the better ones and has finally made me interested in Halo again after the IP losing steam in the last few years.

8. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ; Another surprise for me this year, one of the best kart racing games in a long time and finally something for purists of the genre to sink their teeth into.

9. Nintendoland ; I'm shocked to be frank, at how solid this game really is. It is a much more full experience than Wii Sports, and I feel like a fool initially thinking of it as garbage during E3. Definitely a surprise and it is one of the best local multiplayer games I have played in a very long time.

10. Paper Mario: Sticker Star ; While not my favorite in the series, this new Paper Mario still has a lot of the charm and fun of the older games, with puzzles that will leave your head scratching and a system that makes collecting stickers and using them in battle a joy.


Neo Member
Oct 19, 2008
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising ; GOTY? More like game of the forever. Play with the stand and headphones to inject Sakurai genius straight into your bloodstream. I...I just... Great. I'm crying now.

2. ZombiU

3. Spelunky HD XBLA

4. Nintendo Land

5. Trials Evolution

6. Project 83113

7. Journey


Jul 11, 2012
I haven't played that much this year, but I'm still going to list the games that stood out to me most.

1. Dragon's Dogma ; In my view, this is the best damn game I have ever played. I love the character customization, I love the combat that allows me to climb up on top of huge monsters and hack them to death, I love the ever-present sense of danger, I love the progression, I love the music, I love the pawns, I love almost everything about it! Like I've said before, it's as if someone made a game just for me. My dream game, in other words. I am VERY eagerly awaiting the expansion. It'll take a lot of work for someone to knock this game off its throne for me.
2. Phantasy Star online 2 ; Though it's not yet released in the US (where I reside), the language barrier hasn't stunted my enjoyment of the game whatsoever. The excellent combat, robust character customization, imaginative monsters and bosses, and sweet, sweet music all help propel this game to the top of my list this year. It also helps that it has what is probably the most absurdly brisk content update schedule of any game ever released in the history of gaming. A true achievement, and I look forward to the mass of new content to come next year.
3. Mass Effect 3 ; I was hesitant to list it here after that ending fiasco, but I can't deny that the game still has its charms. More importantly, I've spent hours in the game's multiplayer mode, one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, especially with the constant free content updates that keep pushing out. It's one of the best co-op modes ever designed. Every victory feels earned. It's something I'll probably keep coming back to for awhile yet.
4. Sleeping Dogs ; Surprisingly well-executed undercover cop drama with some of the best visuals I've seen from a game this generation. I love the combat, too, though admittedly it feels like it's been lifted almost entirely from the Batman series.
5. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I'm cheating here; I still haven't actually played the game. But it deserves its place here simply because it is a successful revival of a series that I utterly loved as a kid, and I'm SO very glad for its existence.
6. Guild Wars 2 ; Admittedly, the game has cooled off for me since launch, but I still recognize its achievements in changing the way MMOs are played on so many levels. I particularly love the fact that they finally got rid of kill-stealing as a concept, something that was LONG overdue.
7. Soul Calibur V ; Again, sweet, sweet character creation. But it also polished up the fighting and the online play in a big way. A pretty great fighter, and the only weapon-based one.
8. The Walking Dead ; Hah! I'm cheating again (didn't play the game myself, watched others play it), but it really is a great storytelling achievement in video games today, and should be recognized for that.
9. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition ; It's Dark Souls; 'nough said.
10. FTL: Faster Than Light ; Excellent Roguealike In Space. Captures the feel of flying in hostile territory with a ragtag crew quite nicely.
2011. Saints Row The Third - I can't help it. Games with excellent character creation completely bowl me over. It helps that the game itself is quite excellent fun with all the wackiness and a solid core combat system.

The Jason

Mar 6, 2007
For 2012

1. Journey; ThatGameCompany uses games as the powerful medium to communicate emotion through art that video games are.

2. Far Cry 3; Despite the various issues that always seem to attend open world games, FC3 delivers an incredible experience. An open world game that combines stealth, survival, strategy, shooting, and exploration is just too good. Maybe I'm not as jaded as most gamers but FC3 does so many things right, it leaves me in awe of how far game development has come.

3. Final Fantasy XIII-2; Final Fanasy. Towns.

4. Need for speed: most wanted; Loved hot pursuit, so i had a lot of fun with this.

5. Sleeping Dogs; Nice open world game with a good story.


This poster pulses with an appeal so broad the typical restraints of our societies fall by the wayside.
Feb 28, 2005
1. Max Payne 3 ; Never before has a game made me feel so bad-ass. Best gunplay ever — seriously.

2. Halo 4 ; Not my favorite campaign in the series, but the multiplayer is still a ton of fun. I'm a pretty casual player, so 343's changes have not kept me up at night as they have most of HaloGAF.

3. SSX ; I needed some time to warm up to this one, but I ended up loving it, and played it probably more than any other title this year. As long as you steer clear of the drops/peaks with tons of death pits, the gameplay is as glorious as ever.


Sep 23, 2006
1. Spelunky ; this game is a joy to play! The 360 leader boards added a lot to the already strong foundation. I kinda' ... Couldn't .. Stop . Playing it.

2. Sleeping Dogs ; This is the best open world game of the generation ... Additionally, it tells a convincing story.

3. New Super Mario Bros. U ; miiverse and very clever overworld design made this a NSMB game to remember ... for a change.

4. Mark of the Ninja

5. Rhythm Heaven Fever

6. Dust: An Elysian Tail

7. Super Crate Box

8. Sound Shapes

9. Super Hexagon

10. ZombiU

2011. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


Press - MP1st.com
Jun 28, 2011
Middle-Earth or Tatooine
Out of all the games I've played this year, I can only come up with three so far.

1) The Walking Dead - Goes to show that AAA games don't always come with a $60 price tag and on store shelves. Basic gameplay mechanics make way for superb storytelling that will pull you in regardless if you like the show or novels. Not only is it a great game, but I consider it an industry-shaking game that will make publishers take notice. 2012 is the year when we remember that a digital game beat out all the other high-profile retail releases.

2) Mass Effect 3 - Regardless what you think of the ending, ME3 is a good game. Is it better than the previous two? That's entirely subjective, but for $60, there's a lot of fun to be had in Shepard's final journey. The mere fact that a ton of people reacted to ME3's controversial ending proves that people care about this RPG. I think for years to come, Mass Effect might be one of the defining new IPs this gen has given us.

3) Borderlands 2 - Gearbox proves that making everything better and cramming a ton of stuff in without innovating works. Borderlands 2 selling well and being played a ton could be a signal that people might be getting tired of competitive FPS'. Not only that, but the game cements the studio as one of the only studios this gen to come out with their own new IP and make it sell a crap ton of units.


People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.
Aug 17, 2009
1. Persona 4 Golden ; Even if it's a port, the new content makes the game feel like a brand new one. The game's undeniable charm engrosses the player all throughout.
2. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
3. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
4. Tales of Graces f
5. Final Fantasy XIII-2
6. Resident Evil: Revelations
7. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
8. Gravity Rush
9. Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time
10. Sound Shapes

2011. Dead Space 2 ; Fun game and has a great amount of content compared to Dead Space 1.


Jan 28, 2011

1. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward; This game is just as good as 999, if not better. Brilliant puzzles and a phenomenal story that had my full attention until I got all the endings. The characters are extremely interesting and well done and my mind was constantly in ruins throughout.

2. Persona 4: Golden

3. The Walking Dead; Never before has a game made me care so much about a set of characters

4. Hotline Miami

5. FTL: Faster Than Light

6. Dishonored

7. Sleeping Dogs

8. Journey

9. Gravity Rush

10. Mark Of The Ninja

x. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition; Just like last year this is still the best game I played this year but made even better on PC with Durante's fix.

Overall a weak year for the major mainstream releases but made up for by everything else.


Aug 7, 2011
North Carolina
1. Kid Icarus Uprising ; I was thoroughly surprised with my time with Kid Icarus Uprising. I expected a good game but I didn't expect such a bevy of content. Amazing dialog, amazing music, fantastic multiplayer. There is so much to like about Kid Icarus. I can't believe Sakurai packed so much content into this game.

2. Hotline Miami ; I was so floored by this game that I was compelled to do a review of it on youtube.... yeah, and I haven't done a review for a game in a looooooong time. Oh, and dat soundtrack

3. Journey ; What an experience. Playing through the entirety of this game with some random stranger you don't know was so different than any other game I've ever played before. Incredible visuals and a fantastic soundtrack round out an awesome game.

4. ZombiU ; A true return to survival horror.... at least on consoles. Fantastic atmosphere.

5. Rhythm Heaven Fever ; Probably my favorite rhythm game of all time. Just plain fun

6. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; 999 was a fantastic game that was a breath of fresh air over here in the states and I'm so glad it was a success because the sequel is just as good if not better.

7. Nintendo Land ; This one was a complete shock to me. I had almost no expectations for the game but it has since turned out to be one of my favorite multiplayer experiences in a LONG time. The competitive multiplayer games are genius and show me more potential in the Wii U gamepad than I've ever felt for motion controls.

8. Halo 4 ; I haven't played a Halo game since Halo 3 so I was coming in fairly fresh to Halo 4 and boy was I glad to be playing another Halo game. I thought Halo 4's campaign improved on what I thought to be a fairly average campaign in Halo 3. The multiplayer is just as fun as ever and god damn those visuals.

9. Resident Evil Revelations ; This is what I want from a Resident Evil game. The portions of the game on the ship are fantastic. It's just a shame that Capcom seems to be diverging from this type of survival horror vibe more and more.

10. The Pinball Arcade ; This game has actually made me a big fan of pinball machines and whenever I go out to an arcade or something, I try to look for as many pinball machines as I can. I guess I just appreciate pinball machines way more than I ever have before.

x. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask ; I love Professor Layton games and this one was pretty much more Professor Layton. Great story as always and puzzles galore.

x. The Walking Dead ; I'm sort of late to the party with The Walking Dead so I haven't finished the series but from what I have played, it seems great. It would probably break into my top 10 if I could finish it soon enough.

x. Mass Effect 3 ; Say what you will about the ending but the game was still fairly solid. It's a shame the game didn't live up to expectations as the Mass Effect universe is one of my favorites of any video games series.


Feb 14, 2012
Newcastle, UK
1. Virtue's Last Reward ; It's very rarely that I can love a game so much purely based on story alone, but this somehow succeeds. While not quite as good as 999, it was still absolutely fantastic. Can't wait tilll the sequel!

2. Gravity Rush ; Sure it might not be the most polished game in existence, but it was the game that sold me on Vita. I don't think I've had so much fun traversing a game world ever So much fun and Kat was quite endearing with her thoughts to herself. Still the game lacked a bit in the combat department and mission variety, but it gave me a unique experience I've never felt before.

3. Catherine ; Another game that just had nothing like it. It was a breath of fresh air after playing what was feeling like the same game again and again.

4. Sleeping Dogs ; Really liked this. Better than GTAIV in my opinion. Sure there isn't as much side stuff compared to GTA, or have the overall depth. But the main story and missions are so much more focused and driven, and therefore more enjoyable. Like the combat as well

5. Journey

6. Tales of Graces F ; One of the best battle system's I've ever experienced in an RPG. If only the rest of the game wasn't let down

7. Spec Ops: The Line ; Very few games make me think think about what I'm doing. Especially shooters. This game did and a way I have very rarely experienced by drawing emotions out of me.


9. The Unfinished Swan

10. Mass Effect 3

2011. 9 Persons, 9 Hours, 9 Doors ; So amazing. Can't believe I nearly missed out on this game! One of if not the most well crafted stories I've ever played in a game. That True End! I spent a couple of days browsing the net for theories and discussions after I finished it. If I had played it last year, it would have been 3rd behind Deus Ex HR and Xenoblade

Not the best of years in 2012, coinciding with being very busy meaning I don't have a full list. Saying that, games that probably would have been on my GOTY chart like Borderlands 2, Sleeping Dogs, Halo 4 and AC3 I just haven't got around to playing yet, never mid not owning a 3DS yet.

EDIT: Played Sleeping Dogs now. It's great!


Aug 24, 2007
Seattle, WA
1. Borderlands 2 ; Easily the game in which I put the most hours in this year. Similar to the Assassin's Creed series, the first game proved the premise and the second game practically perfects it. From inventory management to the quest and co-op structure, Gearbox's years of polish shine through, while the exemplary, genuinely hilarious writing and wonderfully self-aware take on loot mania (slot machines!) gave the game a unique focus and tone that I couldn't get enough of. I rarely have time to play through to completion once, but I've done it twice with B2 already and am trying to corral friends in for the DLC and another True Vault Hunter playthrough. Congrats, Pitchford & Co.
2. The Walking Dead ; The best storytelling and choice-driven gameplay I've ever encountered in a game. Perhaps there wasn't much revolutionary to the GAME part, but it completely sufficed. Only thing holding it back from being number one on my list is that it lost my save (along with those of many others). Can't wait to see what season 2 has in store for us and what improvements the team can make.
3. FIFA 13 ; I can't believe I keep getting sucked into this year after year, but EA keeps making the best sports game around even better each year. I feel like all the improvements from this gen came together and to a head with this installment, but three things really stood out to me and made me sink more hours into it than any year prior: 1) Improved, speedier UI, 2) an actual "tutorial" via the skill games, and 3) the ingenious Seasons mode gives the multiplayer context and motivation. Please, EA, don't mess with this magic -- just keep adding to the feature set!
4. X-COM ;
5. Far Cry 3 ;
6. Dishonored ;
7. Mark of the Ninja ;
8. Trials Evolution ;
9. Spelunky ;
10. FEZ ;

Still to play:
- Soundshapes
- Binary Domain
- Hotline Miami
- Gravity Rush

Just didn't get:
- Journey

Biggest disappointment:
- Assassin's Creed 3

Some real highlights from this year, but the drop-off beyond these titles is pretty severe, in my opinion, and made for a lackluster year overall. Looking forward to a new year and a new gen.


Unconfirmed Member
Dec 2, 2009
1. Journey ; An experience I didn't know was possible to have with a game before this one.
2. Dishonored ; On a pure gameplay level, this is GOTY. Closest thing to Deus Ex/Thief we may ever get.
3. Walking Dead ;
4. FTL: Faster Than Light ;
5. Diablo 3 ; Got burned out on it quickly as it didn't have the legs that D2 did, but still a great experience.
6. Dear Esther ;
7. Mark of the Ninja ;
8. Hotline Miami ;
9. Hero Academy ;
10. NBA 2K13 ; They keep perfecting and refining the game every year.

2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Good game, and worthy of the Deus Ex title, but Dishonored did this style of game much much better.

x. Thirty Flights of Loving ; great soundtrack

Didn't get a chance to play the following:
Far Cry 3
Halo 4
Quantum Conundrum
Sound Shapes
Spec Ops: The Line
The Unfinished Swan
The Walking Dead
Torchlight 2


Oct 9, 2004
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; An excellent strategy game in it's own right but this game really shines in what it doesn't do. You, as the player, fill in a lot of blanks and come to identify strongly with your squad members -- You'll have favourites, you'll groan when they miss a sitter, you'll squeal when they land an impossible reaction shot, You'll scream 'FUCK YEAH' when your assault nails the shit out of an encroaching Chrysalid... I hope for a sequel, I want MORE.

2. The Walking Dead ; Gets a lot of criticism for being 'barely a game' but this was an exhilarating experience that sets the bar for writing, voice acting and characterization in games. Amazing experience from start to end.

3. Sleeping Dogs ; Sleeper hit of the year. Fantastic combat system, it's gonna be hard to play other series where I can't throw people into on-coming traffic. I loved Wei Shen, this guy is the new bar for total badassery.

4. Diablo III ; I very much enjoyed the game mechanics, systems and how it feels, how enemies react to you, it's done it better than any ARPG since Diablo II. The endgame fell apart for me, I feel the whole endgame was negatively affected by the RMAH. That said, I put over 100 hours into this, and a large majority of those hours were well-spent.

I played other AAA games this year and had a modicum of fun in them, but I'm not going to list them just to pad out a list. I haven't played Far Cry 3 and if it's on sale during the winter sales I may bite, and amend the list if it's as good as all the industry hype indicates.


Dec 15, 2005
1. Journey; Short and beautiful. A very refreshing and unforgettable experience with a great OST.
2. The Walking Dead
3. Dragon's Dogma
4. Far Cry 3
5. The Unfinished Swan
6. Dishonored

Haven't really liked more games this year

-edit- added Dishonored


Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
Feb 14, 2009
I've played maybe ten titles of this year and don't really consider any of them Game of the Year. :/ Can some last year titles count? D:

In any case in no order:

1. Uncharted: Golden Aybss; Easily the best portable title out there this year that mimics the console experience on the go.
2. Dead or Alive 5
3. Persona 4: The Golden
4. Persona 4: The Ultimate in Midnight Arena
5. Wipeout 2048
6. Assassin's Creed 3
7. Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation
8. Guilty Gear: XX: The Midnight Carnival: Accent Core Plus
X. Gravity Rush
X. Hot Shots/Minna No/Everbody's Golf 6
2011. Battlefield 3


Fallen Xbot (cannot continue gaining levels in this class)
Jun 7, 2004
i dont think i can remember another year where there were so many not top 10 lists. crazy.


Jan 14, 2011
San Francisco
1. Persona 4: Golden ; Words cannot express my love for this game.

2. Journey ; I was interested in this title dating back to its debut at E3 a few years ago, yet was still hesitant to pick it up when it released earlier this year. I don't remember what my reluctance was, specifically, but I feel guilty having ever doubted this title. Far and away, Journey is the most emotionally resonant game I've ever played. I had never before empathized with the feeling of immersion in a game, but Journey’s beautiful art, soundtrack, lighting, and cooperation connected with me in a way I had never experienced. The highs are high. The lows are low. The ending is transcendent. Journey is timeless, a masterpiece, and I will talk about it as glowingly a decade from now as I do today.

3. Mark of the Ninja ; I had all but written off stealth games as a genre until I impulse-bought Mark of the Ninja because of GAF hype. This is the best stealth game I’ve ever played, bar none, and maybe the best 2D platformer. Fluid movement and platforming, ingenious data presentation, smart level design, attractive visuals, and the perfect mix of gameplay variety and length. The most straightforward “fun” I’ve had in a game in a long time.

4. Hotline Miami ; I'm not really a fan of violent games. I don't ride the obnoxious moral high horse that seems to surface in most criticisms of such games, but I derive no particular pleasure from engaging in human dismemberment. That said, Hotline Miami is a masterclass in building ambiance, and the basic gameplay loop is as (fittingly) addictive as crack. (I’d be remiss not to mention the soundtrack, of course.) The most frustratingly enjoyable game since Dark Souls. (I should note that I didn’t let its infuriatingly common crashes on my PC influence its ranking, but I’m disappointed that they still aren’t fixed.)

5. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy ; My only regret is that I bought a 3DS specifically for this game, only for it to come out on iOS 6 months later. Plays better on iOS, but disappointed in the (inevitable) revenue model.

6. Final Fantasy XIII-2 ; For the cash-in that it is, it’s not horrible. I played it for an enjoyable 60 hours and will probably never touch it again. It’s heartening that Toriyama & co. are listening to feedback, but they need to consider it as part of their design philosophy, and not treat it as a checklist. This was kind of a lost generation for Final Fantasy, so I’m eager to see Square move on.

7. New Super Mario Bros. U

8. Guild Wars 2 ; A lot of good ideas, and not much else -- besides dat art.

9. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ; I had exceedingly low expectations for a non-Naughty Dog Uncharted game, and that was exactly the right way to go into this one. Still fun, regardless.

10. Assassin’s Creed III ; A trainwreck, though occasionally redeemable in combat. I’ll take more Ezio to more Connor. And I’m sick of Ezio.

2011. Bastion ; Absolutely nothing like I expected, and a wonderful (though repetitive and slightly gimmicky) experience. Maybe my favorite game art ever.

In all, this was a very disappointing year for me, with three huge exceptions. I rarely find myself satisfied with $60 purchases anymore. Almost certainly relatedly, I find myself hyped for fewer and fewer releases each year. (The Last of Us is my last hope for this generation.) At the same time, virtually all of the innovation in the industry is happening in the indie space, so I’m really looking forward to the games I haven’t even heard of releasing next year that will top my 2013 list.

I will mention, as a final note, that while I voted for Dark Souls somewhere down-ballot last year, that was a huge mistake. After playing it on PC, it is one of my favorite games of all time. If I were allowed to vote for it this year, it’d be #1.


Jun 29, 2011
1. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ; One of the best examples of DLC practice in the industry. Excellent fan service. Vast variety of characters. Lots of online and offline content. Deep and rich gameplay. Balanced. Really amazing netcode. Best OST of the year.

2. Soul Calibur V ; Just started playing this game and I'm already impressed. Really amazing stages and backgrounds. Clean and sharp graphics. Great hit effects. Impressive character models and interesting new character personalities. Great music. Satisfying combat.

3. Street Fighter X Tekken ; Despite all the hate this game got, I still had a lot of fun with it. Pair play online is really fun. And the Tekken cast made a great transition into the 2D world.

2011. Dark Souls ; This is absolutely the best single player experience from this generation. Very expansive world, deep and satisfying combat, thrilling boss fights and so much more.


Jul 9, 2011
Oh god I wrote too much!

1. The Walking Dead; My number one slot, my Game of the Year, was an easy choice. Going into 2012, I never would have thought that The Walking Dead would be my favorite game of the year mainly because I was unaware of its existence until episode one was released. To me, great storytelling in games is more interesting than great gameplay. The reason I say that is because great storytelling is such a rarity in games. The medium is still young and developers are still figuring out just how to tell great stories. 2012 will mark the year that a developer finally figured out how to tell a story that is worthy of the attention of everyone. Yes, there has been some great story telling in games prior, but The Walking Dead is a new high point. While it is bordering on an interactive storybook, The Walking Dead is still very much a game. TWD's greatest success if it's writing, on so many levels. First, Telltale games was smart and decided to tell what is essentially a linear story, but they were still able to make it so that the player felt that they were having real impact on it. While you do have impact on the world, you don't really have any effect on the story. The Walking Dead's brilliance is that your influence is on the characters. You, the player, establish your relationship with the characters in the game and when Telltale kills them off, you hurt, or you cheer, based on how you decided to treat them. Doing this allowed them to tell a tightly knit story that ends the same way for everyone. And what a story it is. It's intense, terrifying, grotesque, heart wrenching, and heart breaking. Add to it one of the very best written children in entertainment history and The Walking Dead ends up being a bit of a watershed moment for gaming. No game has been as emotionally ravaging as The Walking Dead has been and I don't know when it will be surpassed. Hopefully Season 2. I think I'm ready for more, but I'm not sure if I've fully recovered from Season 1 yet.

2. Borderlands 2; Much to my own benefit I didn't play a ton of Borderlands 1. It didn't click with me until late in the summer of this year when I played through the rather lackluster story. Playing through the first game was enough to make me understand why people liked Borderlands so much and why they were so excited for Borderlands 2. I think that because I didn't play much more than 15(ish) hours of the first Borderlands I was able to enjoy Borderlands 2 so much more. What a game. Borderlands 2 successfully improves nearly every aspect of the first game and makes for possible the most fun playing game I have played in years. It's a massive, exceedingly addicting game with a colorful world and a unique and often entertaining cast of characters. Most importantly though, it is just fun to play. Gearbox has gotten the mix of gunplay and powers just right. It is a frantic, fast paced cacophony of action that I couldn't stop playing. Interestingly I spent the majority of my time playing on my own and not once did I get bored. The overwhelming number of quests and the never ending search for the better gun never got old and the only reason I have stopped play it is because I hit the level cap on my main character. The moment that cap is raised, I'll be back in Borderlands 2 having even more fun.

3. Journey; I'd heard some of the early buzz about how brilliant Journey was, than it came out and the extraordinarily positive reaction from the public made it a must buy. Journey is one of a handful of games that I will now mention when people ask if they should buy a PS3. It is the single most unique and beautiful games I have ever played. Coming in at about 2-3 hours long Journey doesn't last long, but what it accomplishes in that short time is remarkable. Sitting down to play it I wasn't sure what to expect from the gameplay and story. Interestingly, there isn't really much to the gameplay or story, yet at the same time, there is so much to Journey's gameplay and story. Journey is one of those rare games where the gameplay and story become one thing. It is somewhat hard to describe Journey without blatantly explaining it's story, which would than ruin it for others. Suffice it to say that playing through Journey is one of the most memorable experiences I have had playing a game. 2012 will go down as the year that video games figured out how to tell truly emotional stories. Journey tells it's story in the most minimal way possible. Not a single word is spoken or written the whole time. All there is telling the story is the jaw dropping visuals and utterly mesmerizing (now Grammy nominated) soundtrack. I still have difficulty expressing what it is about Journey that I loved so much, but I think it is a game that everyone should play. Like Portal 2 last year, Journey is something that could have only been accomplished in a video game and it is a shining example of what a game can be. It's a beautiful and emotional triumph for interactive storytelling and it will go down as one of the best games in the PS3's lineup.

4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown; I never expected to like this game simply because I am not a fan of turn based strategy games. Boy was I wrong. XCOM: Enemy Unknown has some of the most interesting gameplay to date simply because of the wide range of emotions you go through. The most interesting part is that the emotions come purely from playing the game as the story is inconsequential. I can't really think of a game that makes you feel so many things simply through playing it. It is intensely satisfying to beat a level, or one shot an enemy. XCOM is also simultaneously frustrating, infuriating, and extremely stressful. The dice roll on hitting an enemy is the main cause of those other, less satisfying emotions. "98% chance to hit that Cyberdisc. Good because I need to kill that bastard, otherwise my best guy is going to get murdered. Here we go. Goodbye Cyberdisc! Oh, wait a tick, my shot missed. Fuck. 98% hit change and I missed. Tits. WELL! There goes my best dude. Oh, my other two best guys just panicked. Well shit." That happened on more than one occasion and it sucks, but is also totally awesome. It's a strange reason to like a game so much, but the feeling of satisfaction overwhelms the negative emotions that XCOM puts you through and it results in one of the most unique and enjoyable games I've played to date.

5. Mass Effect 3; This was the game that I got hyped for more than any other game this year. I don't really care what the internet thinks, yeah the last five minutes are pretty terrible, yeah the core gameplay and story structure is a little strange, and yeah it is not nearly as good as Mass Effect 2, but I loved Mass Effect 3. It had some of the most exciting and emotional moments this year for me. So much of that comes for my attachment to the characters and the universe that Bioware has spent so many years building. I feel like Mass Effect 3 is a lot like Lost. The final destination may not have been that satisfying, but the journey getting there was amazing. The characters and dialogue are still the core of ME3 and 3 has some of the best character moments in the trilogy. I completely understand why so many people dislike Mass Effect 3 but I truly enjoyed 95% of Mass Effect 3 and I am already ready to replay the whole trilogy. Despite 3's flaws, the Mass Effect universe is still one of the best, most fully realized science fiction universes to date.

6. Far Cry 3; Far Cry 2 was one of the most disappointing games I've played and most of that is on me. I got way too excited for it and it just wasn't the game that I wanted. Because of this, I deliberately didn't get excited for Far Cry 3. I wanted it to be great, but I remained skeptical. Thankfully thought, Far Cry 3 is one hell of a game. It might actually be the best playing, best looking, most fun open world game to date. The only reason that it is low on my list is because I have yet to finish the game and won't be able to for several weeks from now. But the ten hours that I have played proved to me that Far Cry 3 is a hell of a game and I just want to go play it right now.

7. Halo 4; This is actually a bit surprising to me because, being a massive Halo fan, I figured Halo 4 would be higher on my list, but here it is, appropriately in the number 7 slot. I actually went into Halo 4 with lowered expectations mainly because it wasn't Bungie making this game. Thankfully though, 343 truly proved themselves worthy of making Halo and made one hell of a Halo game. But Halo 4 is a Halo game through and through and my biggest complaint about Halo 4 is that there isn't really anything new in Halo 4. It feels very safe in many ways, which is probably the right thing to do as 343 had to gain everyone's trust. That being said, 343 made a hell of a good Halo game. It is the best looking, best sounding, and campaign wise, the best playing Halo game to date. The multiplayer borrows a few too many things from Call of Duty, but it all works well, for the most part. Halo 4's multiplayer is certainly not as perfect as Halo 3's multiplayer, but considering that I don't really enjoy multiplayer games anymore, I have enjoyed my time with Halo 4.

8. Rayman: Origins; I know this game didn't come out this year, but I didn't get around to playing it until this summer. Playing Origins this summer was easily some of the most fun I have had playing a game in a long time. It has one of the very best art styles to date and the 1080p, 60 FPS really helps the speeds and gorgeousness of the game. Add to it that utterly magnificent and dynamic soundtrack, Rayman is one of the greatest looking, greatest sounding games to date. Thankfully it also is a blast to play. Yes, it is intensely, deceptively, infuriatingly difficult. But I played it right through to the end and enjoyed every minute of it. It's an absolute shame that Ubisoft put it out when they did because it got lost in the Holiday games rush. I think everybody should play Origins. It's just so damned good.

9. Dishonored; Dishonored was an interesting one. I had payed basically zero attention to it leading up to it's release. Through osmosis I had learned what, roughly, the game was and I wanted it to turn out okay because I love a good "Deus Ex" type of game. Thankfully it turned out great. While the story is extremely lacking, the world and gameplay is what Dishonored excels at. Dishonored's greatest success is in the magic abilities you are given. Those abilities makes moving through the environment easy and fun. They give you a huge range of gameplay options. Want to play it like the most insane John Woo movie ever? You totally can. You can also play it extremely stealthy and you will also have a total blast. It's unfortunate that Dishonored has such a crappy story, if it had had a great story it would have been way higher on my list. But a fun to play game with a bad story is better than a bad playing game with a great story.

10. Diablo III; In the first of many games that came out in 2012, Diablo III was not on my radar. I had played Diablo II briefly a decade ago, but I was young at the time and its brilliance was wasted on me. Fast forward to Diablo III's release. At the time of it coming out I didn't have any real intentions of getting it but I did end up purchasing it because of all of the positive things I had heard about it. And they were right; Diablo III is a ton of fun. And who would have thought clicking on shit could be so addicting. The never ending search for better loot is Diablo III's crux and it works. Yes, I only really played it for a week or two, but I enjoyed every minute of the near thirty hours that I clocked in that short time. And the moment that any sort of expansion comes to Diablo III, I'll be right back in it. I should note that this was probably the toughest spot on the list to fill because I could have put any number of games right here. Sorry Spec Ops!


Feb 14, 2005
Kyoto, Japan
The Walking Dead - Only game to ever make me cry.

Journey - Great experience all around

Mass Effect 3 - A vague ending didn't sour my exparence on this great little game.

Far Cry 3 - Not so much Skyrim with guns. I have that mod on Skyrim XD. It did a much better job with Assassass's Creed game mechanics then the last AC game.

Halo 4 - I've never been much of a Halo guy. Only played the single-player and loved it.


XCOM Enemy Unkown


Darksiders II

Sleeping Dogs

You must number your ballot or it will not be counted.


Sep 1, 2009
1. FTL: Faster Than Light ; It's the only game on this list that immediately comes to mind, when I think "great game", -- everything else was merely good, this year.

2. Kid Icarus Uprising ; It's the music, mostly, that makes it meritorious. Beyond that, it's also simply a game, something most of the games below can't really say for themselves.

3. Journey ; I like pretty things.

4. Crusader Kings II ; The best strategy game this year. XCOM is cool and all, but I'd rather play the original games, they're special.

5. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ; I really like pretty things.

6. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ; It's so tense! This is the year of non-game games. I've got three on my list, it's crazy.

7. New Super Mario Bros. U ; Same old, same old, ... then again, give me that old time religion.

8. Halo 4; Disappointing, but it's pretty and still a Halo-ass Halo-game. God, I'm the worst.

9. Hotline Miami ; Now this is a video game.

10. The Walking Dead ; It's difficult to explain why they chose the format they did, but it's also the best choose-your-own-adventure out there.


Neo Member
Feb 16, 2010
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown ; I feared the worst, I hoped for the best. I was so excited for XCOM to finally hit, and when it did, I and tons of friends were completely sucked in for weeks. There are very few games that hit this level of design. It's fantastically well made, and if it wasn't for some lacklustre art, a few bugs and a few mechanical choices, I'd want to call it perfect. As it is, I don't think we could have gotten a better XCOM remake. It is absolutely the best game of 2012, hands down.

2. Crusader Kings II ; I've always had an affinity for large-scale map-based strategy, but the dryness of "crush all your faceless opponents" doesn't hold my attention for that long anymore. CK2 is basically The Sims, but in late medieval Europe, with lives and land at stake, and somehow it works brilliantly at it. I end up legitimately invested in whether or not I end up the Duke of Whatever after my massive plot is sprung against the existing Duke, betrayed if my cousin rises up from some distant province to take me down. It feels like one of the best implementations of what Paradox started with Europa Universalis 1 - finally all the little event popups and sliders start to take on some personality. It's a great, addictive, totally weird game.

3. Planetside 2 ; I didn't expect this to grab me, but the combination of utterly beautiful landscapes, with BF3-style massively-multiplayer warfare that actually works(!!) has led to me spending dozens of hours with it already, and despite thinking I never would, I've now finally put money into an F2P game. And it felt totally worth it.

4. Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 ; This is another entry in a series that looks like it's going to be annualized like a sports game. I didn't know what to expect from it - I was vaguely familiar with Magic from when I was 13 and bought some and my friends and I half-assedly tried to play it - but it's got a great difficulty ramp-up, a really clear interface, and pretty good AI. I blew threw the whole thing and wanted more when I was done.

5. Torchlight II ; I played a lot of Torchlight II. I played a lot of Diablo III, too, but what I really should have been playing was Torchlight II. It was the game I wanted, and every well-tuned mechanic made me grin about the fact that Runic is able to make these games the right way. There's a great interplay of systems going on in TL2 that make it really hard to stop playing. That voice acting was TERRIBLE though, wow. Oh well.

6. Legend of Grimrock ; The Grimrock devs locked themselves in a time capsule and emerged in 2012 with a totally fun, first-person dungeon crawler. In 2012! What!

7. Hotline Miami ; It might not be the most technically brilliant game, but if more games had this much style I'd be way into it.

2011. Dark Souls.

Sax Russel

Jun 10, 2004
1. Dark Souls ; Incredibly designed/constructed game. I wish more games I played were able to elicit the feelings of thrilling suspense and exploration that Dark Souls does.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Grand, epic JRPG adventure that pushes the Wii with glorious vistas and complex NPC interactions.
3. Borderlands 2 ; Perfect sequel to the first game, expanding and improving on virtually every aspect. Everything I wanted from BL2.
4. Sleeping Dogs ; A fun and very dense open world, great combat, great characters.
5. Fall of Cybertron ; One giant fanservice tribute for people that love Transformers. Art, music, and voice acting all pull you in.
6. Spec Ops: The Line ; Surprise of the year for me. Ignored it at first but when I got around to it I was impressed with how it played out.
7. PlanetSide 2 ; The massive battles one experiences in the game are second to none, but I always log off feeling like not much has really been accomplished, feels like the original Alterac Valley in vanilla WoW sometimes.
8. Hitman: Absolution ; Not as bad as some reviews made it out to be, I still liked it. Some levels were not quite as good, and the end of the game was especially dull, but the overall package was worth it.
9. Far Cry 3 ; I had fun, but ultimately disappointing because the open world was just populated with the same few quests copy pasted across the 18 parts of the map. Carried by the fun gameplay and some of the story missions.
10. Dustforce ; I love games like this with a focus on speed and skill. Poured many hours into it double S ranking most of the levels (the final prefix levels defeated me :<)

x. MechWarrior Online ; Feels like MechWarrior. Brings up dat nostalgia of playing MW2, especially with the recent addition of Bitchin' Betty. Some of the other recent changes and stale map selection keep it from being ranked though.
x. Hawken ; Closer to Gundams than MWO's tanks with legs, the movement of the mechs in Hawken is amazing. Only lacking in a more robust set of customization options, which might not be a focus of the game, but would still be welcome.
x. Diablo 3 ; Played it a ton at launch, even cleared Inferno pretty early with my broken-ish Demon Hunter. It had a lot of problems and failed to keep me playing. Even if many of those have been fixed now, it's just too late. Thanks for the few hundred dollars from the RMAH though! =D
x. Assassin's Creed 3 ; The most refined gameplay and mechanics of the series. Brought down by a doofus of a main character and a dissatisfying ending to Desmond's story.
x. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ; Didn't finish it. The world, lore, and combat had a lot of promise that just wasn't fulfilled in the execution of the actual game.

2011. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Finally played it this year on Dolphin. Ended up being my 2nd favorite 3D Zelda, after MM =O


Feb 14, 2005
Kyoto, Japan
Glad I can mention a few. As I never can settle on only one GOTY.

Dragon's Dogma - The sense of adventure, warped story at the end, and variety in gameplay make it a hard one to top for me. Love it.

Far Cry 3 - It's like like playing a game like Uncharted in first person, only you are allowed to go off in to an open world full of danger and do what you want. Super fun game.

Journey - More than a game for me. It makes me think about the trials, tribulations and beauty that can be discovered on the journey of life. It also made me a firm believer in quality over quantity, despite the fact that I still love my big, open world games.

Dishonored - Have to mention this for the sheer variety in gameplay, and the immaculate first person perspective it offers. An amazing game that very much deserves to be in the conversation.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Don't call it a comeback. I've been filling Mutons with hot plasma for years.
This is how you modernize a beloved series and not alienate the original fanbase.
Even the completely secondary multiplayer is thoroughly enjoyable. G.O.T.Y.

Mark of the Ninja
So, you want to be a ninja you say? Don't believe the Ryu Hayabusa hype!
Here's how it really goes, if they see you, you're already dead.

Soul Calibur 5
An epic return to form. Great Netcode, Expansive character editor, excellent offline and online.
Marred only by the overly expensive and prematurely truncated editor DLC.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2
A fitting end to this Tekken cycle, here's everyone, playable in every way, from everywhere.
Bonus points for the huge FU to paid DLC by Harada.

Sine Mora
Here's an indy doing it all right. Even the subtitled Hungarian adds to the narrative oddity.
Since Konami doesn't seem to care about Gradius any more, here's the next best thing.

Kinect Party
Fun, distilled, and free for a limited time.

You must rank your ballot or it will not be counted.


Oct 14, 2010
Beaumont, TX
Love these GAF GOTY threads.


It's easy and fun to hate on something, as I and many of GAF has done many a time...but it's harder and even MORE fulfilling to talk about why you love something. I find myself reading every entry, enjoying their love of video games, and nodding in approval for games I've played and loved as well.

I read them every year. Sometimes I scourge the past ones for fun.


Dec 15, 2005
Why do people always have trouble reading the OP when it comes to GOTY threads...

or any thread in general, I guess


Apr 27, 2011
I don't feel qualified to make a list this year. I guess I own most of the relevant titles, but completion/progression is very limited.

1. Dishonored; I am so unsure about this. A couple of days ago I was sure that Far Cry 3 was the best game of the year, but then the game started to slightly bore me. The worst thing about Dishonored is its overall similarity to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It seems uncreative to nominate the same type of game two years in a row. While the multiple small sandboxes approach is similar to HR and still a good way to make the stealth genre approachable, I think Dishonored brings several unique aspects. Blink might be one of the most original and best realized gameplay ideas of the year, especially combined with the godly climbing mechanics in the game. The setting was dark and inventive, easily the strongest new setting of the year, but I guess that doesn't say much in a year with so many sequels.

2. Hitman: Absolution; I am not sure about this either. The idea to reduce the mission area size and complexity compared to the Blood Money template sounded ridiculous and offensive. In practise I think it worked out great. The game allows for as much creativity as BM ever did, but it is more bite sized. This change actually makes it easier to access unique gameplay situations that you want to try out, when you no longer have to play the beginning portion of a map to access something cool that comes later. Large scale simulation effects over the entire map size were not a big deal in BM and are not really missed in Absolution.

3. Far cry 3; In every way a better game compared to the aimless and and empty Far Cry 2. Builds on the open world idea of free form area control missions that was pioneered in Crackdown and nailed for the mass market in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Ubisoft daringly makes this one of the central pillars of what surely has to be one of the most expensive AAA games of the year. And it works great! This must be inspiring for gta copycats. Graphically, I think Far Cry 3 impressed me more than any other game this year.

4. Borderlands 2; I don't have much to say about this one. Frankly quite low on originality, abysmal to mediocre in singelplayer, but what a fantastic coop game. It is so simple and joyful to play with friends. I am tempted to blame it all on the general benefits of coop gameplay, but frankly: other coop games are not this fun! I don't know how, but there must be some impressive behind the scenes design artistry that makes Borderlands 2 such a blast to play coop.

5. Assassin's Creed III; Not nearly as disappointing as Revelations, but sadly another game that is not as good as Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. This comes down to a combination of factors I guess. The uncharismatic player character, that you get to play after having been teased with a mysterious and infinitely more interesting character in the intro section, is problematic. The lack of parkour opportunities in early Boston and New York is also problematic. The lack of new ideas in the assassin helper system or area control system is problematic. But despite these problems, there is so much to enjoy in the game. The main path missions are constantly introducing new gameplay ideas, which keeps things interesting. The ship combat is possibly the best series of sidequests in an open world game ever. Completing a multitude of quest markers that populate the screen is as addictive as ever. If the alternative is that samey cod sequels drive AAA development, I much prefer assassin's creed games.

6. Darksiders II; Never played the hated ***** section, but the game seemed creative and fun as much as I played. Suffers a bit from quantity over quality compared to Darksiders 1. Stopped playing for job reasons, but I guess I will return eventually.

7. FTL; The only indie game on my list. Great original idea with the detalied simulation of spaceship systems. Not as punishing as some other roguelikes.

8. Prototype 2; Still the best traversal in open world games. Mission design was heavily inspired by Infamous, but the stealth and the maximalist combat makes the feel of the game quite different.

9. Gravity Rush; After blink the second best gameplay mechanic this year might be changing gravity. Really nice setting. Missions are overall a bit uninspired and combat could be better, but a really nice game.

10. Syndicate; Irrational Starbreeze fandom.

2011. The Binding of Isaac.

Games I have played much or very little of which do not deserve placement as far as I am concerned: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Dear Esther, Legend of Grimrock, The Darkness II, Resident Evil: Revelaitons, Mass Effect 3, Diablo 3, Max Payne 3, Quantum Conundrum, Deadlight, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Black Mesa, Miami Hotline, Tokyo Jungle, Resident Evil 6, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Halo 4, Little Inferno, The Walking Dead episodes.

Games I have played very little of which might deserve placement: Journey, Sleeping Dogs, Mark of the Ninja, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, PlanetSide 2

Games which I have not played that sound interesting: Binary Domain, I Am Alive, Dragon's Dogma, Spec Ops: The Line, Torchlight II, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, ZombiU

Not really fair to include: Dark Souls pc, especially considering the bad port.


Jul 21, 2010
1. Dishonored; A fantastic stealth/action hybrid that uses it's fantastic art style and innovative mechanics to make exploring it's world an absolute charm.
2. Hotline Miami; No game has ever got my blood pumping like this. The combination of its brutal retro art style and even more brutal gameplay that when you succeed creates a feeling that can only be described as pure bloodlust.
3. Analogue: A Hate Story; A fantastic introduction into the genre. A wonderfully dark story full of intrigue and mystery and what gameplay mechanics it has really help to put you in to the main characters role.
4. The Walking Dead; An interesting take on the genre. The Walking Dead is light on the puzzles and inventory management that are common to adventure games, even to a fault. But it's fantastically dark story with it's interesting characters and effective illusion of player impact make up for its lack of challenge.
5. FTL: Faster Than Light; Another fantastic addition to the modern resurgence of the rouge-like. Combining the challenge of rouge-likes and unique strategic gameplay, FTL is a game that is fun even in failure and beckons for your regular return.
6. Max Payne 3; Max Payne is not leading a happy life. A washed up drunk with a drug problem, his trip to Brazil is predictably not one of beaches and good times. With Max Payne 3, Rockstar has finally nailed the combination of physics and player control, creating fantastic gunplay that makes even standard engagements fun. While the cutscenes are definitely too frequent, I was engaged enough by Max's sad story that they didn't bother me.
7. Far Cry 3; Far Cry 3 has some of the best perfomances I've ever seen in a game. But it's poor use of characters and terrible resolution sour what could have been a storytelling high for games. For those that disliked Far Cry 2 for its lack of variety, checkpoints and malaria, you'll definitely have a better time with Far Cry 3. With more linear main mission, they are able to keep the action much more varied and fun while the open world still features a large amount of content for those that want to explore, although capturing outposts does become slightly tedious by the end of the game. But it's still much more fun than 2.
8. Asura's Wrath; BUUURRRSST! In Asura's Wrath you play Asura a man with apparently infinite rage. AW is basically an interactive anime. There are 3 styles of gameplay, QTEs that populate the action cutscenes and work fairly well to draw you in to the action, the 3rd-person brawling sections where you build up your burst meter and reach the next action cutscene and the on rails shooter sections where you paint your targets and unleash a volley of missiles from...somewhere while everything explodes around you. And boy does stuff explode in this. There are many, many points in this when you think that things can not possibly get bigger or more insane than this, and then you fight a guy while you have no arms and a sword in your mouth, and then you stop a giant in space from crushing you with his finger, and then someone stabs you from the moon down to earth and the sword comes out the other side. And it keeps getting more insane.
9. Katawa Shoujo; I have played through it 3 times so it should probably be on here. Aside from some poor writing and art in some areas and some major dragging in one story in particular, I did enjoy my time with it. It's still not better than Analogue, Jintor!
10. Borderlands 2; Borderlands 2 is a lot like the original. You shoot things to get loot, possibly with a buddy. Getting loot is fun.
x. Mass Effect 3; While I did enjoy the combat, the resolution of the series left a bad taste in my mouth.
x. Persona 4: Golden; Persona 4 is a fantastic game, but I don't feel like P4G should be on my list without playing it.

2011. Xenoblade Chronicles